Many college say the strive for “diversity“, but sometimes forget that they should also include differences in political view in their programs.

As an example, Boston Inno writer Lauren Landry offers a taste of what it is like to be a Republican student at one of the most liberal institutions in the country.

As chair of the Emerson College Republicans, student Paul Almeida can attest to hearing, “I didn’t know there were Republicans at Emerson” on a regular basis. Considering the school was ranked the 20th most liberal college in the country this year, the shock comes as no surprise to the conservatively-minded sophomore.

“Being a Republican in Massachusetts is almost like being a…well, an elephant in a herd of donkeys,” admits Almeida. “You feel a little out of place, and more than just a little conspicuous.”

To Almeida, the political discourse has helped foster conversation on campus. “We’ll always be the minority in the classroom,” he says. “And while it’s tough having class discussions one-on-34, it only serves to improve the classroom experience.”

Open political dialogue on campus is crucial to promoting diversity. At Emerson, however, while the largely liberal student body is “supportive,” Almeida finds it to be slightly superficial.

“We’ve been lauded for giving Republicans a voice on campus, but sometimes with a smirking undertone, as if the broader Emerson community thinks of us Republicans as novelties,” Almeida says.

The raised eyebrows typically result from a lack of understanding. Almeida remembers once riding in an elevator reading Fox News when a fellow student asked the all too common question, “Republicans exist here?” Almeida tried to laugh the comment off, admitting, “Yes, we’re a rare breed,” jokingly asking the student if he’d like to stop by a meeting some time. “Sorry, I’m gay,” the student responded, to which Almeida quickly shot back, “Well, so am I.”

“As funny as it may be, that story serves to encapsulate the stereotypical view Emersonians have of Republicans,” Almeida says. “We’re more diverse than they think.”

Boston University junior Mara Mellstrom, vice chair of the BU College Republicans, admits she’s often butting heads with her professors being a conservative political science major. Yet, she’s also watched the conservative voice start to rise on “the largely opinionated” campus, as well. “We have been very well-received as a student group,” Mellstrom says.

Mellstrom currently interns for the Scott Brown campaign and is the director of membership of the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans. And her involvement off-campus symbolizes a commitment several students have made to the election.

The Smith College Republican Club has been campaigning for Brown at the local office 30 minutes away from their Northampton campus, according to Club President and senior Julianne Roseman.

Smith was ranked the sixth most liberal college earlier this year, which does make conversation more difficult. “There is a lot of respect and dialogue around the issues of race and sexual identity, but no one wants to be reminded of the conservative students on campus,” Roseman says. “The school is the alma mater of some big name feminists, such as Gloria Steinem, so it can be extra challenging to hold conservative views on women’s issues, such as being pro-life.”

And those views have sparked negative feedback. “The students, themselves, are not always supportive or even respectful,” Roseman claims. “Some are down-right rude.” Club posters have allegedly been torn down, and Roseman has heard classmates make negative remarks when she’s tabled at events in Smith’s Campus Center. “Many conservative students worry about voicing their opinions on a large-scale—beyond their immediate friend group—because the student response can be mean,” Roseman admits.